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Nikki DeLoach played a key role in Saturday night’s successful Children’s Hospital Los Angeles gala by securing the night’s headliner, Justin Timberlake, a global pop superstar who just so happens to be her friend of 30 years.
“I just called him and asked and he said yes,” DeLoach explained to The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet of her direct line to Timberlake, whom she met at a casting camp for The Mickey Mouse Club. “We instantly became best buddies, like brother and sister, and we have been brother and sister ever since. His mother has been like a second mother to me, I’ve lived with her for chunks of time in my life. We’re just chosen family, and I’m so honored because he’s always been there any time I’ve needed him, and I’ve always been there when he needed me.”
She also took a moment to discuss another role she recently took on by starring in Hallmark’s The Gift of Peace. The film, part of the network’s annual Christmas programming, casts DeLoach as a once-devout Christian who stopped believing in God after her husband tragically died. As her second Christmas without him approaches, she tries going to a support group for inspiration and comfort.
Said DeLoach: “I’m a person of deep faith so it was really cool to be a part of that.” The actress has carved out a long career that includes many TV movies (some of the holiday variety) including Christmas Land, A Dream of Christmas, Reunited at Christmas, Love Takes Flight, Two Turtle Doves, Sweet Autumn, Cranberry Christmas and The Perfect Catch, among others.
She added of The Gift of Peace, “It’s about grief and it’s one of the most emotional movies Hallmark has ever done so we’re kind of breaking the mold with this one.”
The project and its theme of grief hit close to home for DeLoach.
“There’s just been a lot of loss in the last couple of years and we’re all wondering, including myself, how to move through that monster of grief. It’s really hard,” she explained. “I lost my dad last July at 66 years old, and what I’m learning is that it really helps when you can connect with other people and share your grief with others. We think we have to go through things in isolation and it’s just not the way we’re supposed to human. This movie is kind of a blueprint of how to find the joy and the light amid the grief.”
The Gift of Peace debuts on Hallmark Channel on Dec. 10. The film marks is the first movie produced under Hallmark’s faith-based brand DaySpring.
Oct. 18, 9:58 a.m.: Updated to correct quote about Hallmark’s faith-based projects.
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